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Griffin scores winner as Hounds land Open Cup upset of Revolution

By Staff, 05/09/23, 11:38PM EDT


Connecticut native’s goal late in the first half makes difference in 1-0 victory in Round of 32 clash

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC's Danny Griffin (2) celebrates with teammates after scoring what proved to be the decisive goal in his side's Open Cup victory at the New England Revolution. | Photo courtesy Mallory Neil / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Make way for the Hounds.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC scored its biggest Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory in a generation as Danny Griffin scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer in the Round of 32 on Tuesday night at Gillette Stadium.

The victory was the Hounds first against an MLS opponent in the Open Cup since defeating the Colorado Rapids in 2001, which also stood as the club’s lone prior upset of a top-flight opponent in the historic tournament.

The Hounds made a bright start and within the opening minute produced the first shot on target as Marc Ybarra stung a low shot on goal and forced a save by New England’s Earl Edwards Jr. just 28 seconds in. While the Revolution posed plenty of threats of their own with a forward line led by former U.S. international Jozy Altidore, who had an early chance in the penalty area blocked away by the Hounds’ Mike DeShields.

The game hit a major flashpoint in the 27th minute when New England’s Latif Blessing, who had previously received a yellow card, lunged into a tackle over the ball against Joe Farrell. A foul was given, but no card was shown to Blessing, keeping both sides at 11 players.

As the Hounds remained on the front foot, however, the breakthrough for the visitors came two minutes before halftime. Ybarra played a low pass perfectly between the Revolution center backs to send Connecticut native Griffin through. The midfielder, in only his second game back with the Hounds after a transfer deal last week, scored with a low shot to put the Hounds in front.

The Revolution and Head Coach Bruce Arena tried to find a way back into the game in the second half, including a four-player substitution in the 63rd minute that included former MLS Most Valuable Player Carles Gil among them. The Spaniard’s creativity provided an additional edge for the hosts and almost delivered an equalizer in the 77th minute when he threaded a diagonal pass through to Altidore, only for Altidore’s shot fly over the crossbar.

The Hounds continued to find chances as well, but the defensive shape and swarming packs of players did well to not only alleviate pressure by finding outlets but also by winning fouls as the Revolution chased the game. A pair of 3-on-2 chances in the late moments could have allowed the Hounds to put the game away, but a turnover and a shot wide by Arturo Ordóñez in stoppage time kept the match close until the final whistle until the visitors got to celebrate a famous victory.

“It never felt like we were under siege. The last 5-10 minutes got a bit hairy, but the key was we found outlets,” said Hounds coach Bob Lilley. “We were positive with our play going forward, we were positive with the ball, and that gave us the energy and time to get back and defend properly.”

The Hounds will now enter the draw for the Round of 16 on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. ET, with the potential to face another top-flight opponent in the next round.

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